The real and alleged samples “Chuao’s cocoa.”

Journey into the Ancestral History of Cocoa Between Legends and Myths

Chuao a WONDERFUL place! I’ve been to Chuao at least four times in the last three years alone, and I must admit that even without cocoa it would be the ideal place for me to live! A hermitage suitable for free bears like me where civilization is far away and except for a few cell phones the rest of the world is left out. I do not want to dwell on magnifying the place, but this particular condition makes sense. There are no roads leading there from the outside, and people can only access the ravine by sea and only with small boats, as there is no marina, intentionally. Let’s say a place where civilization is accepted but only if it is respectful of native times and manners of the place.

Chuao cocoa award presentation

Issuance of the Certificate of Origin of Chuao Cocoa

Cocoa for Chuao is the major part of their economy, besides fishing there is nothing else! The community, led often by women-and what women! It marks their life through the process of harvesting fermenting and drying the broad beans. The road leading to Pueblo, is surrounded by cocoa plantations of a particular variety, it is a Criollo, but to call it pure seems excessive. Even there over the years hybridizations with external clones has affected the genetics a little bit, however as covered in previous articles it does not make such a big difference.

Chuao’s cocoa economy

So we are talking about an economy of about $50,000 per year. So a totally feasible economic operation to be able to grab that wonder of nature. In those years, however, the political situation changed radically, and the advent of Chavismo changed those market rules into political-economic interference, transforming that cocoa into Status, the one that makes Venezuelans claim today that theirs is the Best cocoa in the World!

Cala Trinchetto! My grandfather would exclaim! Let’s not make a sack out of every cocoa! In Venezuela there is excellent cocoa but also unwatchable junk. So to assert toucourt that he is the best in the world is a generalization that, for nitpickers like me makes one angry! Today I can say that NOT all Chuao sold as such, comes from that area and although the market price, in Europe is around € 10.00 per kg some farms or cooperatives do not even exist and are the result of commercial manipulation.

They are destroying the cocoa of Chuao

Chilling images of how the incompetence of idiot agronomists can affect the work of farmers and how experts and not self-styled experts are needed now more than ever. Even many chocolatiers, with hedonistic interventions and empirical advice made only for media complacency, can induce incompetent institutions to undertake initiatives that are harmful to cocoa instead of visionary and evolutionary. This complaint of mine is harsh but absolutely pertinent, too often to get a page in a newspaper, or an interview on television, aimed at asserting one’s Brand or status, one can commit irreparable crimes to the fragile cacao ecosystem! This series of my articles have precisely the purpose of mitigating the false legends that sometimes escape scientific scrutiny to land on the pages of the tabloids in a way that is totally misleading and disrespectful of a balance between man and nature as taught by Ayurvedic gurus and Steinerian techniques, which combined with scientific studies, decades of observation, seasoned with technical and environmental sensitivity allow me to take such positions that always put Cacao and its function, ahead of my personal economic interest.

They’re Destroying Chuao Cocoa 2014_1 from Silvio Bessone on Vimeo.


A legendary cocoa

Now treated the less noble aspects I tell you about Cacao! We are looking at a particular genotype the cotyledon is largely clear, but it is not uncommon for cabosse to have variable seeds, with different color ranging from soft pink to deep purple. Anthocyanin content is not high and tannins are low, although the fat content is below average not exceeding 49/50%. Proper fermentation, which takes place for ALL this cocoa in the only center present at the side of the little church, varies from four to six days depending on how Sunday falls, which by custom does not see them working. Once fermented, the cocoa as you can see, is spread out in small piles on the Church Patio and turned constantly with wooden rakes and then withdrawn in the evening to avoid exposure to the Dew. ALL of Chuao’s cocoa is processed in the cooperative! There is no sole proprietorship work, so if it is from Chuao it comes from here and is processed here!

In conclusion, Chuao is cocoa from a single genetics even if not pure, sourced from a single territory, processed by an improvable but established method, marketed by a single outgoing company. Which then multiplies by market effect and reaches consumers with a good deal of approximation. Chocolate made from original Chuao or Franceschi cocoa cannot be cheap; it is expensive because of its characteristic and scarcity. If you taste a Chuao tablet you have to do it with a lot of respect, it is not about food but an extract of culture and history! Before putting it in, mouth it requires at least 20 seconds of meditation and then thinking about those former slaves who for their survival decided to isolate themselves from the world, the French who cared for and protected that rarity, and we, who live by the culture of taste pay due respect to it. Amen!